Stirling: walkability and civic tourism

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A week and a half into my walkability lifestyle experiment, and so far so good. If nothing else, injecting the mystique of psychogeography into the daily commute sugars the pill, even if I’m still having to get from A to B fairly directly.

Walkability

No driving now, but a wander through Dunblane, train via Bridge of Allan to Stirling, park-and-ride bus out to Springkerse, a quick walk from The Peak at Stirling Sports Village (‘health/happiness/life/fun’), and on to the office.

It also does no harm when you’re writing about and classifying landscape design products. Footbridges and tactile paving are walked over, benches paused upon, bus shelters leaned on, automatic rising bollards stepped around. If I was an iPhone man, I’d be firing off the TweetPics.

Civic tourism

And from my new pedestrian perspective, it’s easier to notice the criss-crossing orbits of local people and tourists, and the very different directions they spin off in. With that in mind, this caught my eye: Eric Fischer’s geotagging of photos taken by locals and tourists respectively in the world’s major cities.

Along similar lines, Dan Shilling, director of the Civic Tourism project, gives a thoroughgoing account of why the distinctiveness of places is important for local tourist industries, where and why it’s been quashed, and how and why it should be improved. He looks at tourism in terms of ‘working the landscape’, and highlights the shortcomings of both tourist board apparatchiks and local NIMBYists.

In 2004, when we began the research that resulted in civic tourism, we asked residents what they knew about the tourism industry in their town. Not surprisingly, very few people know who is responsible for product development, funding, marketing, and other roles. If they have impressions at all, most citizens consider tourism a low-wage industry run by the chamber of commerce. Tourism means motels, gift shops, and fast food outlets – all aimed at satisfying strangers. When I asked tourism bureau directors how this situation benefits them, suggesting they might want to reach out to residents, I was surprised that some said they didn’t want locals anywhere near the tourism conversation, because all they would do is gripe.

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7 Responses to “Stirling: walkability and civic tourism”

  1. Geoff Bolitho Says:

    let’s try that again. From supposed clean and green NZ we are doing our own experiement in to how much carbon we can burn collectively ferrying around our offspring to their respective activities. How do you manage this aspect during your experiment?
    Might add a linked in profile, not sure if this is submitting to a big brother world.

  2. Stephen Bird Says:

    Thanks for that, Geoff.

    NZ is a bit of byword for clean-living over here, so it’s interesting to get facts on the ground.

    So far we’re finding Dunblane-Stirling pretty walkable, and train and bus connections are regular and reliable. Schools, shops, work, friends, church, parks – all well connected. Car-hire for the trips to see family down south.

    The boys are probably still young enough not to need too much taxi-ing to different activities. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

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